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“We expected more/Not worth the price” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Aqua Wellness Resort

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Aqua Wellness Resort
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1 Redonda Bay, Playa Gigante, Nicaragua   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Playa Gigante
Boynton Beach, Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“We expected more/Not worth the price”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

First of all, name is deceiving as this is no resort and pictures on their website paint a much nicer picture. After 4 nights in Granada we decided to spend 3 relaxing nights in Aqua. It was an adventure just getting there and not in a fun way. Half of the road from Granada to Aqua doesn't exist and we felt bad for our driver's car. Upon requesting a hair dryer on our first night, I was told that one of the other guests already has it and they can try and get it for me the next day. There is only 1 hairdryer in the whole "resort"!?! After I complained that I needed one now, not tomorrow, they were able to find me one somewhere. There is a wine cooler (?) instead of a little fridge in the room so you can't properly cool off anything in it except of course if you want wine but then again there are no wine glasses in the room. There is a coffee maker in the room but no coffee cups. Two of the lights (one in the room and one on the little balcony) were missing bulbs. It was pretty dark in the room and especially outside after the sunset so bring a flashlight. The food at the restaurant was tasty most of the time and portions were big but every day they were out of something on the menu (like white rice or salad!?!). Prices in the restaurant are high as you have no other options but to eat there. Service depended on who you get, most were nice, lacking in english though but some waiters seemed annoyed. We were prepared for the many steps and when I called to see where our room was located after booking thru expedia, they were unable to tell me on the phone, and of course we were put in one furthest from the beach (182 steps). The beach is beautiful and that was the highlight of our whole experience at Aqua. We are not planning on returning there again.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC_Trev, Owner at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Aqua is an eco-resort and it seems not the experience you were looking for. We’re interested to learn how you heard of us in Granada and what expectations were set for you there – if you could email Anthony.mandela@aquanicaragua.com we’d really appreciate it. We’re requesting an update to the descriptions on Expedia to make sure they clearly inform guests of the experience we have at Aqua.

While the roads are still in progress, construction is slated to be complete in January and we’re very excited that progress is sweeping through the country – it bodes very well for Aqua and the pacific coastal beaches in our area. For guests looking to avoid the roads, there is helicopter service available directly from your flight connection in Managua – reservations can handle those requests directly.

Best wishes
Aqua
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254 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (106)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Las Vegas, Nevada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

The tree house was in the canopy, monkeys had coffee with me each morning. The beach was one of the best I have ever been to. The spa was great. The yoga platform is the coolest in the world.
You can't drink the water. The power goes out every day or so. The hotel staff is annoyed that you are there. It is 2 and a half hours by mostly dirt road to get there from Managua.
I would go again.

Room Tip: Be ready to go up and down alot of stairs.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC_Trev, Owner at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
LVSherpa – we’re looking forward to seeing you back again – Anthony.Mandela@aquanicaragua.com can help you with planning your next trip. He’d also like to hear more about which staff left a less than positive impression – if you have time to email him directly we’d appreciate it – he’ll also try to guess your identity based on the guest data.
Thanks,
Aqua
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Bozeman, MT
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

The people of Nicaragua are wonderful and friendly, the country is charming and the land is full of adventure. Although Aqua had incredible rooms and adequate facilities, the service from all but a few employees was awful.

Aqua's setting is spectacular as it overlooks el pie del gigante and a private beach which is both safe for families and intimate enough for couples. Its treehouses are scattered throughout the forest like no other resort we've visited and it is clear that a great deal of workmanship, quality and design went into the resort creating a very relaxed environment. Its unfortunate that their management assumes that these qualities alone will make for an unforgettable trip. With the exception of Emer (excellent tour guide), Ernesto (surfing) and a few of the other employees (including a gardener who took time to fix a flat tire), the overall service in key areas of the resort was very poor. Reception was nowhere near 'receptive', meals took literally hours to serve in the restaurant and even those who owned timeshares in the resort were complaining regularly about the service.

The developers of the 'resort' stayed near us for the last three days entertaining business colleagues. Upon their arrival, the service just got worse as the limited staff spent their time tending to the needs of their owner. To their credit, management is apparently turning over, but other locals suggested that the issue isn't management, its the owners commitment to developing a memorable resort.

To top it all off - not once in 6 nights and 7 days at Aqua did anyone ask us if we were enjoying our stay. Not the signature of a place we will return to anytime soon.

Room Tip: Beachfront is essential if you don't like stairs.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC_Trev, Owner at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
BrockAnderson, thanks for calling out some of our employees who delivered exceptional service, and your comments about reception and restaurant wait do not fall on deaf ears -- we are rolling out POS systems this week to streamline workflow and reduce wait maximum wait times.

Anthony.mandela@aquanicaragua.com would like to follow up with you directly if you are able to email him.

Aqua Management
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Boca de Nosara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

spend your travel dollars elsewhere - you can get so much more of all Nicaragua has to offer, for a lot less!!

this place looks real nice from the website and touts themselves as a luxury resort - they are not!

more like a gild facade of a co op with appealing rental cabins attempting to be a hotel with no hospitality experience... a nice location for one or two nights but still way overpriced for what you get and what is readily available in Nicaragua

I came for a retreat that ended up being more work that I imagined it could be,
with 30+ other guests on the property you would think that management of a fancy resort would be thrilled and well prepared to fulfill every guests need...

when arrived, I was injured - this was not taken into account nor any effort made to change our accommodations to the cabinas closer to the beach (besides supplying, upon request, some tape and gauze for my injured foot)

we where housed in one of the top cabins, on the property line close to this cabina there was paved road with fancy houses just above it, and even though we had an inroom safe but we still became somewhat concerned of our safety and belongings as no windows were secured and there was regular traffic on this road beside our cabina - later in the week some guests had to deal with an attempted robbery while walking a trail back to Aqua

reception offered no map and no guide to our room, we wandered around and got lost twice, then went back to reception in order to take a photo of the framed architectual drawings of the property, to use as our map - the cabina was nice, lots of wood and good appliances

there are an immense lot of stairs
and no golf cart to take you down/up the hill - which would be classified as an upscale resort item
- Costa Rica has been using carts in resorts on hills for 20+ years
so if you are taking a retreat or training and you are staying in the upper cabins you will be quite quickly exahusted

they give you a cell phone because there are no phones in the rooms, but no numbers to contact the other members of your group or other cabins, only reception and the restaurant - the cell quickly ran out of minutes after calling these two locations and of course you have to walk down stairs and a ways back to reception in order to get the phone refilled and then they only give you a few more minutes

when we arrived to our cabina there was only one king sized bed, which I found a bit shocking
Aqua made the assumption that my sister and would enjoy sleeping together for 6 nights
we were not notified of any sleeping arrangements like this prior to arrival
when I requested sofa to be made up as a bed, even after 3 times, it didn't happen
even in the cheapest hostel, you get your own bed!
then we find out later in the week, that other people were in the same situation, some who were strangers! huge indiscretion from a real hotel business viewpoint

there was a lot of construction work happening on the same property, more cabinas being built while we were in meditation and yoga practice - hammers, saws, power tools, vehicles - I saw 3 men hand mixing cement (which is illegal in most countries as it burns the skin) knowing workers are often paid less than $2 per hour, this reeked of slave labour - the fact that construction was not paused while a such large group of guests are onsite shows the greed factor of a fraudulent 'wellness' charade

the food quality offered to 'retreat' guests was very poor and repetitive
but when ordering off the menu of the ' restaurant ' which shared the same kitchen
the difference was astoundingly better but overpriced

we paid additional $200 for food on top of the listed week fee of an outrageous $1595

the bathrooms below yoga deck we always locked, so one had to either pee in the bushes and risk being seen by other guests, or walk a ways back to the restaurant to use the toilets there, taking you away from precious practice time with the teacher,
after 5 days these toilets began to reek of back up sewage

no where were there any signs not to place toilet paper or hygienic products down the tubes,
another common notice and practice in Costa Rican businesses for many years

one of the new managers, Natalia, was very beautiful, energetic and bubbly but that too seemed to be an act as she was only available the first and last day of the 'retreat' - I left messages trying to contact her as well as emailed through this service - TripAdvisor - to talk with Trevor (on day 3 of the retreat I was already dissatisfied with the food and sleeping arrangements) I was contacted by someone I didn't know and my emails just got shuffled around, there was some discussion with Natalia and yoga retreat facilitators on the last day, but we only heard excuses, passing of blame, attempted manipulation and lack on knowledge,
there was no offering of resolution nor taking responsibility for the dissatisfaction of myself and sister for this all inclusive 'retreat' package

I notified Aqua of my needs and hopes of enjoyment in staying there weeks prior to attending, also that I would be passing my birthday there, sadly no attempt from the hotel, whatsoever, was made to ensure my week stay there was extra special - these people need a reality check - I wouldn't ever go back

Room Tip: stay in the cabinas close to the beach, yoga deck, restaurant and bar which are at the bottom of a s...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC_Trev, Owner at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Anthony.mandela@aquanicaragua.com will be contacting your instructor regarding this retreat – however we wanted to comment on one thing particularly with this review that may be of general interest to tripadvisor readers.

With few exceptions Aqua guests marvel at the handiwork, craftsmanship, ingenuity and situation of the resort on our pristine Redonda bay.

It’s worth noting that while the designs and vision have had North American input, and over three years were spent in collaborative training with our local craftsman in the construction and finish techniques (which do use North American standards - some foreign to Nicaragua), the actual build execution of the resort is 100% Nicaraguan, and proudly so.

The core team that created our treehouses over the last 7 years are all local and live within a 20 km radius of the resort, and for us represent a success story for collaboration between North American vision and Nicaraguan culture.

This quality of workmanship is not something that can be forced from above, but something that comes out of pride from within, and you need only speak to any of our crew team (if your Spanish allows and they are onsite – or the maintenance staff also all came from the construction crews and speak English well) in order to see that spark of ownership they take an a job exceptionally well done. Our workers are all well paid in the local market, and we are happy to continue to work together to develop the skills of our team to create more opportunities for the families who are part of the Aqua team and increase their standing in the rapidly evolving Nicaragua they now compete (strongly) in.

Regarding the specifics of your stay, Anthony and your instructor will need to be in touch about the details, however it does seem you are looking for a "5 star" "yoga resort" experience on a serious "budget", comparing the experience to that of a country that has roughly 20 years head start on Nicaragua -- I’m not sure such an experience exists, but certainly we aim to please so if the communication and arrangements for your retreat were not clear, that is something we certainly can take responsibility for improving.

Aqua Management
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Atlanta, Georgia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

I just returned from a visit to Nicaragua with my sister. We stayed at a surf camp for several days and then decided to go somewhere that had a spa. This place was so nice! We had great massages, cocktails, and did some paddle boarding. The food is pretty good- overpriced for Nicaragua but you get that at resorts like this. I will also mention that when called to book the hotel the coordinator told us that the lowest price room was $170, however when booking through expedia we found it for $113 a night. When we mentioned this to her she said that wasn't valid anymore so we just booked online for the lower price.. The room was very nice and had hot water which is a treat down there. The rooms aren't very sound proof though- as we heard everything from the room above us. But overall it was a great vacation. Cute monkeys in the trees to greet you every morning. The yoga platform and class was probably my favorite part about this place. The staff was also very nice and helpful. Looking forward to visiting again!!

Room Tip: Ask to be on the top floor if your treehouse is double stacked. Also- if you're lazy and going...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

My girlfriend and I were searching for a tropical resort that had some kind of healthy bent to it. Surprisingly I didnt find much that fit the bill until I happened upon Agua. I didnt expect that it would be quite as nice as photos on the website, etc. To our great pleasure it significantly exceed expectations.

The villa (Zenia #1) was beautiful, modern but very appropriate for the surroundings. The whole landscape, views, beach, jungle etc were incredibly special. One tip that I got from a Trip Advisor post that I am glad we followed was to book a villa near the beach as the climb to the higher villas is substantial (but not awful or anything if thats what they have available and you are in ok shape).

We enjoyed the Yoga each morning, yoga deck was gorgeous. Restaurant had great healthy stuff which was a nice option in addition to the local restaurants around Playa Giante, etc. All the staff were really nice and helpful. As with most the Nicaraguan tourist industry they are still learning their way but a bit of patience is always in order during a tropical vacation as far as I am concerned. We got know one of the owners (Dan) while there and I can tell you the intention in creating and running this place are both conscious and mindful.

We took a few day trips set up by the resort which were really fun and had great tour guides. But most of the time we just hung on the beach or in the villa and enjoyed the special magic of Rendona Bay and this gorgeous resort. One of the nicest and coolest places I've ever had the pleasure of spending a week.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

As an avid traveler, I can say my five day vacation at Aqua Wellness Resort was one of the more memorable trips I have taken in quite some time. From planning the details of my stay all the way through check-out, Aqua's staff was professional, considerate and efficient. My room (ocean view penthouse) allowed for breathtaking views of the ocean, mountains and the forest. Monkeys climbing up and down the trees while I sat on my porch in the mornings reading was a nice treat, as was hearing the calming waves of the ocean as I fell asleep every night. The rooms were very comfortable and housekeeping was timely and capable. The spa was wonderful as well. The services were very reasonably priced and the spa employees were excellent - courteous and well-trained. The relaxing setting of the spa provided a beautiful view and I appreciated the gentle crashing of the waves as I received my massages (Aqua massage and Aqua Envelopment where turquoise clay was used during the treatment).

During my stay at Aqua, I also took the time to discover the rest of Nicaragua. I recommend travelers do the same, as it's a country with beautiful landscapes and a lot to offer. Aqua arranged my private tours and provided me with a well-informed, English-speaking guide. The first tour I took was to the cities of Rivas and San Juan del Sur, where I also had the opportunity to zip line in the rain forests there. It was an adventurous, amazing experience which I highly recommend. The second tour I took was to the city of Masaya, where we went to the Masaya National Park to see the active volcanoes and then to Granada, once the capital of Nicaragua. This was also an informative and enjoyable trip.

Highlights of my stay at Aqua included a hike up Pie de Gigante, which provided a stunning view during sunset, kayaking, and laying down on the hammocks on the beach. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner facing the ocean was also quite remarkable. What also impressed me about Aqua was its ties to its surrounding location. The staff are mostly from the local area and the organic ingredients in the food are from local farmers. Creating a bond and taking pride in the country in this way is commendable.

For me, Aqua was a wonderful place to detach and spend a harmonious few days away from the daily stresses and worries of life. The kindness of the staff, the tranquility of my surroundings and the peace of mind I experienced while at Aqua were unparalleled.

Needless to say I truly enjoyed my time at Aqua and hope to return soon!

Taleen
NYC

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aqua Wellness Resort

Address: 1 Redonda Bay, Playa Gigante, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Playa Gigante
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Playa Gigante
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Aqua Wellness Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a luxury eco-resort with a focus on wellness. The yoga platform overlooks our private beach in protected Redonda bay. Accommodations are well appointed luxury treetop villas built with a dramatic vantage over the bay, full kitchens, private plunge pools, teak + Balinese showers and wraparound decks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aqua Wellness Hotel Playa Gigante
Aqua Wellness Resort Nicaragua/Playa Gigante

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